Gen. 43:1 And the famine was sore in the land.
Gen. 43:2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
Gen. 43:3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
Gen. 43:4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:
Gen. 43:5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
Gen. 43:6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?
Gen. 43:7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?
Eventually, the time came when they had eaten all the grain gotten on their first trip to Egypt. So Jacob told his sons to go back and get more food. Judah reminded Jacob that they could not go without Benjamin. Then Israel complained that they had even told the man about their brother. They told him that the man had questioned them closely about their family. He had asked if their father was living and if they had another brother. They had just answered his questions. They had no idea that he would ask them to bring Benjamin back with them.
Gen. 43:8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
Gen. 43:9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:
Gen. 43:10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
Gen. 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:
Gen. 43:12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:
Gen. 43:13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
Gen. 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
Judah begged his father to let Benjamin go so they would not starve. He had already delayed them so long that they could have been there and back two times. Judah declared that he would personally bear the blame for the rest of his life if Benjamin did not return safely. Israel finally agreed that it had to be done. He made them take balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds as gifts to the ruler. (It seems these commodities were not impacted by the famine.) Then he had them take double the amount of silver to cover what had been returned to them before. Jacob prayed for God’s mercy on them and for the safe return of Benjamin and Simeon. He had no choice but to trust them to God’s care, but I think his faith was a bit weak at this point.
Though Judah referred to Benjamin as a lad, commentators agree that he had to be in his mid-twenties at least.
Guzik: “This is the first good thing we see that Judah did. Previously, he was the one who had proposed the sale of Joseph. He was the one who wronged his daughter-in-law Tamar and had sex with her as a harlot.”
Gen. 43:15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
Gen. 43:16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
Gen. 43:17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
Gen. 43:18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.
The brothers journeyed to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin, he had his steward take them to his home. He also told the steward to have a dinner prepared for them to eat with him at noon. When the steward took them to Joseph’s home, they really got scared. They just knew they were going to be taken as slaves—probably because of the silver that was put back in their sacks the first time.
Gen. 43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,
Gen. 43:20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
Gen. 43:21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
Gen. 43:22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.
The brothers finally got up the courage to speak to the steward. They explained how they had found their silver in their bags after the last trip. They didn’t know how it had gotten there, and they had brought it back along with more to buy food this time. They reiterated that they didn’t know who had put the money in their sacks.
Gen. 43:23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.
Gen. 43:24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.
Gen. 43:25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
The steward told them not to be afraid—that the God of their father had given them the treasure in their sacks. He had handled their silver personally. Then he brought Simeon out to them. (He must have wondered if they were ever coming back.) The steward then took them into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet, and fed their donkeys. When they heard that they were going to eat with Joseph, they got out their gifts for him.
Gen. 43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
Gen. 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
Gen. 43:28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
Gen. 43:29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
Gen. 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
Gen. 43:31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.
When Joseph came home, they gave him their gifts and bowed to the ground before him. He asked them how they and their father were doing. They told him that their father was alive and well, again bowing low to pay him honor. He spotted Benjamin and asked if this was the younger brother they had told him about. The sight of Benjamin was too much for Joseph. He quickly left the room because he couldn’t hold back the tears. Finally, he washed his face and got control of his emotions. Then he returned to his brothers and gave the command for the food to be served.
Gen. 43:32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
Gen. 43:33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.
Gen. 43:34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him.
Joseph was served separately. The brothers had been seated together from the oldest to the youngest—which really astonished them. They might not have known the mathematical odds against this being coincidence, but they knew it was to be wondered at. The Egyptians were seated apart from the Hebrews so as not to offend the Egyptians. The brothers were served portions from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. I don’t think that bothered anyone since they all seemed to have more than enough; they “feasted” and drank freely and had a good time.
Smith: “And they noticed that he had set them in the order of their birth. And they marvelled because there was only one chance in thirty-nine million, nine hundred and seventeen thousand that this could have happened.”
Constable: “The caste system in Egypt required that Joseph as a member of the upper class eat at a table separate from his Egyptian companions. The Hebrews sat at a third table since they were foreigners.”